NOEL NASH/CHRONICLE PHOTO Huge bags of recycled material show only a part of the collection effort this past Saturday at the Creswell Library.

CRESWELL – A steady stream of area residents kept volunteers busy and the Creswell Library parking lot mostly full for several hours Saturday, March 20, with people standing in lines and enjoying a light sunshower on occasion.

The recycling takeback event was sponsored and staffed by EcoGeneration. According to founder David Gardiepy, who founded the organization in 2017-19, the idea was to clean up co-mingled plastics in Cottage Grove, he told The Chronicle.

In 2020, EcoGeneration became an incorporated non-profit in Oregon, and organized weekly plastic collections for residents. 

It has held events in Creswell before, at the Creswell Wellness Center, but demand has outgrown the space, Gardiepy said.

The weekend takeback was one of several ways residents can support the environment – and each other – with recycling. 

NOEL NASH/CHRONICLE PHOTO EcoGeneration recycling volunteers handled a steady stream of area residents – that stretched around the Creswell Library building on Saturday, March 20.

The Creswell “We CAN Help” campaign to support local restaurants and seniors has started its can collection again, with a drop-off scheduled each Wednesday from 5-7 p.m. in the Creswell Library parking lot. The library, which also has its regular pick-up and drop-off book services throughout the week, is at 64 W. Oregon Ave.

Since June 2, volunteers of the “CAN” initiative have been delivering meals, purchased from local restaurants, every Wednesday for 25-30 elderly residents. Creswell First!, a nonprofit that helps administer grants to local charities, is supporting the campaign.

Two people waiting in a line that wrapped around the library brought several bags each of recyclables.

Sylvia Barry of Eugene said she usually goes to a collection site near her home, but chose Creswell because “the ones in Eugene have gotten so busy. This is my first time down in Creswell” for a recycling event.

She said it’s worth the time and effort to recycle, for a better future.

“Yeah, we might as well try to leave the world a little bit better than when we came, make it a better place for my children. So we try to take time to recycle but it’s amazing to me that it hasn’t evolved much over my lifetime when it’s been an important issue to Oregonians for years. 

“I’m surprised that the state’s not taking a bigger effort to try to work with our recycling companies and figure out a solution – besides nonprofits happy to set up their own entities with community volunteers. But I’m really grateful for what they’re doing here today.”

Bethel Evans of Eugene said she learns more about recycling every time she participates in a collection event.

“Well, I learned about EcoGeneration some time ago,” she said. “Last spring I was feeling so bad about having to throw away plastic, and started reading about it and so on. So, I just jumped on board and I started at Eugene, doing the recycling and the long lines were too much.

“So I went to Cottage Grove last month and that was great and every time I go to one I learn more, like how to sort and prepare. It is really good here, it’s so fast and efficient, really anywhere the volunteers do this.”

While they chose Creswell on this day to drop off recycling, both women said they visit town, albeit for different reasons. Evans said her step-granddaughter lives here, and Barry said she visits “for some of your restaurants; my parents are big fans!

“We do come down and I worked for a nonprofit for a long time that partnered with the Creswell Library so, yeah, big fan of Creswell even though I’m not a resident,” Evans said.

Interested in volunteering for EcoGeneration? Email [email protected]